Union Catalogue

Soulsby's bibliography and Soulsby numbers

LLUC and Soulsby

The libraries of many institutions possess major works by Linnaeus. However, there are many more specialised collections devoted to the work of Linnaeus and his students. Many of these are important to taxonomic, historical and bibliographical research.

Information on many of these collections is not easily accessible. It is the aim of this project to extend, enhance and standardise the cataloguing of major Linnaean collections so that they can be brought together, in one interface, on the Internet.

Part of the standardisation process has been the adoption of the Soulsby number as a key indicator in the cataloguing process.

The creation of an online union catalogue of Linnaean material required that there was a common link between items held at different institutions. After considerable discussion and debate, the Linnaeus Link Project Team decided that the Soulsby number was the most logical link between copy-specific items. Using the Soulsby number to identify publications will allow catalogue records to be replicated by participating institutions and then altered with copy specific details.


Soulsby's Bibliography

A catalogue of the works of Linnaeus ... preserved in the libraries of the British Museum (Bloomsbury) and the British Museum (Natural History) (South Kensington), second edition, 1933, by Basil H Soulsby.

To view a fully searchable copy of this work available on the Biodiversity Heritage Library, please follow the link above.

An index to the authors (other than Linnaeus) mentioned in the Catalogue of the works of Linnaeus preserved in the libraries of the British Museum, second edition, 1933 (1936) by C Davies Sherborn.

Details of the arrangement of the content of the catalogue are given in the Introduction prepared by A. C. Townsend. Essentially, the items are grouped thematically under twenty headings and within those headings, works are listed chronologically by publication date. “Translations, adaptations, facsimiles, and indices follow in chronological order the editions of the original work to which they refer.” The catalogue covers works published up to 1931, and there is an appendix as well as addenda and corrigenda.

According to Soulsby’s system, a unique number is assigned to each book, to each edition, to each translation, to each altered edition and each journal article, which worked well with items known prior to 1931, the date of publication of Soulsby’s book.

A simplified version of Soulsby's twenty categories, in table form, can be found here.


Post Soulsby numbers

Currently, there are no internationally recognized Soulsby numbers available to assign to items published from 1931 on. Occasionally, it has also occurred that material published before 1931 has not been assigned a Soulsby number.

This will require assigning new or Post Soulsby Numbers to material published from 1931 on or to items unidentified prior to 1931. These items will be identified by a unique Post Soulsby Number. Using these numbers will help us achieve a common link between electronic records of the same title held at different institutions and allow for an accurate, efficient internationally accessible on-line union catalogue.

The Post Soulsby Number will be a sequential continuation from the last Soulsby number 3874. The first Post Soulsby Number is 3875.

The assignment and recording of the Post Soulsby Number sequence is maintained electronically in a PDF document, which is updated on a regular basis.

This will enable Linnaeus Link Project Partners to assign Post Soulsby Numbers for post-1931 or previously unknown pre-1931 items held in their collections.

For suggesting material that should be given a Post Soulsby Number and included in the Linnaean bibliography, please contact the LLUC Project Administrator, Will Beharrell (Librarian, Linnean Society of London).